Local Government of Sierra Leone

Ministry: Local Government and Rural Development

There are in Sierra Leone three spheres of government: central, local and chiefdoms. Local government is provided for by the Local Government Act 2004, and not by the constitution. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is responsible for local government, which comprises six urban councils (Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Koidu and Bonthe) and 13 district councils. In the third sphere of government there are some 150 chiefdom councils. Local council elections are held every four years.

The local authorities and chiefdom councils have revenue-raising powers, and they do levy property taxes and licence fees, as well as receiving regular and one-off transfers from national government. The Local Government Act 2004 specifies 80 functions to be devolved to local government, all of which were to be devolved by the end of 2012. Among the first functions devolved were primary and secondary health; primary and junior-secondary education; environmental health; agriculture extension services; rural water supply; waste management; and community development.